The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to pronounce "poolish "

AnnaInMD's picture

How to pronounce "poolish "

I was watching a sourdough video presentation and the gentleman pronounced it " Polees". Is that the correct way ?


Optionparty's picture

I pronounce it like "Foolish".
My wife said "Polees" is the French pronunciation.
I just say "Yes Dear".


AnnaInMD's picture

very smart, Carl :)

freerk's picture

Hey Anna,


In English the first syllable is usually stressed (POOlish)


The word's origine however,  lies in France, and they will stress the second syllable (pooLISH)


Around 1920, French bakers adopted a method for prefermenting their dough from Poland and introduced a new word to the rest of the world.


Some sources suggest the word started out as "pouliche" (see wikipedia) and that is pronounced with the second syllable stressed (pouLICHE).


How the word changed from "pouliche" to "poolish", we will probably never know. My educated guess is that the word (and method) got picked up by English speakers and evolved into what it is now. The spelling with the double "oo" sort of fits the rules of early 20th century spelling.


So, if you want to honour the origin of the word it should be pronounced the way the gentleman did it in the video :-)


greetings from Amsterdam







AnnaInMD's picture

moment here, never thought of looking at Wikipedia.  Pouliche makes a lot of sense and definitely 'looks' more French than our version. :)

Thank you !


yy's picture

in the videos of professional bakers i've seen (including jeffrey hamelman, i believe), it's always pronounced pooLISH, as in "pool-LEASH"

AnnaInMD's picture

thank you, yy

Short Giraffe's picture
Short Giraffe

I tried the more fancy French sounding way and my 3 year old corrected me and said, "Daddy, you said it incorrectly, its POOH-wish."

AnnaInMD's picture

now we know, hehe